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1 killed, 1 injured at Union Carbide

By Leonard Gray / L’Observateur / April 1, 1998

TAFT – A LaPlace man was killed Friday at the Union Carbide /Star Manufacturing plant, and the circumstances of his death are still under investigation.

Carbide spokesman Stanley Dufrene said Steve Berry, 46, of LaPlace, and Bill Cline, 62, of Texas, were inspecting exterior piping at an ethylene oxide unit which was out of service. The pipes contained no processmaterials, which had been removed earlier.

At 12:30 p.m., Berry and Cline were discovered unconscious at the sceneand transported to St. Charles Parish Hospital, Luling. Berry waspronounced dead at the hospital and Cline sustained respiratory injuries but was listed in fair condition as of Tuesday morning.

Berry, a maintenance skilled operations team technician working directly for Carbide for the past 23 years, and Cline, retired from Carbide but working as a contract consultant, were making inspections when the accident occurred.

Cline was a long-time resident of the Luling area prior to his retirement and move to Texas. “He’s doing much better now,” Dufrene said of Cline,now in a private room.

Cline has not yet been questioned about the circumstances of the accident, Dufrene added, as investigators from the U.S. Occupational Safety andHealth Administration were expected to arrive Tuesday to begin their review. “Obviously, our first concern is his well-being and medicalcondition,” Dufrene said.

The spokesman said plant officials did not know how long the two men were in the vicinity of the pipe unit before they were discovered by other workmen. Meantime, the area has been cordoned off to maintain theintegrity of the accident scene for investigators and for the safety of other employees.

Berry was the husband of Brenda Berry and father of Autumn Diaz and Steven “Joey” Berry.

Services were held yesterday at First Assembly of God Church, LaPlace, with interment in Temple, Texas.

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